Automotive News recently profiled Lear Corp.'s Randal Murphy, calling him a ``legend in his field.'' Known as ``Mr. Seat,'' he's responsible for many of the developments that today pass for standard features in auto seating, such as lumbar support and seat back recliners.
We couldn't help but notice the remarkable likeness he bears to William E. Messitt who, until his recent retirement from the U.S. Postal Service as a procurement officer, was known as ``Mr. Retreading'' in a lot of circles.
Mr. Messitt-mentioned in a number of TIRE BUSINESS articles over the last couple of years-was a one-man booster for the use of retreaded tires on postal vehicles.
We're pleased to be able to re-acquaint him with his ``long-lost brother.''
Signs and such
Spotted in front of a medical building in an Akron suburb: Dr. Ream-Dentures. Doesn't that conjure up an image? Ouch.
Or how about this sign on a Cleveland-area Burger King restaurant: ``Hunchback Kids Meals.''
Does that mean it serves hunchback kids? No shirt, no shoes, no hunchback, no service? Oh, the length to which Walt Disney Co. will go to market its movies!
In that same tasty vein, Waste News, a sister publication of TIRE BUSINESS, recently published an item out of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., saying ``beverage containers recycled at Saratoga Race Course will go to help feed needy people at a local soup kitchen.*.*.*.''
True, they're kind of hard to digest, but with a little seasoning they're not too bad.
Wildlife experts are trying to determine the cause for the thousands of dead hardhead and gafftop sail catfish which have been washing up for weeks on the beaches near Galveston, Texas, and along the Gulf Coast.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the spines of the dead fish are not only causing some painful injuries to people walking on the beaches, but they're so sharp they can also puncture tires.
No tire maker, to our knowledge, is currently working on a line of run-flat off-road tires. But ``Hardhead'' would be a natural brand name, should they ever.
Next time you're in Chi-town, check out pianist Kelly Brand, whose sextet makes the rounds of Windy City jazz clubs.
Unfortunately, a recent review of the Chicago group's self-produced CD noted Ms. Brand and band ``rarely rises above workmanlike'' (shouldn't that be workwomanlike?) playing.
So much for her cutting a jingle for Kelly-Springfield Tire Co., ``singing'' the praises of its own Kelly brand.
To draw attention to the cleanliness of the Big 3 automakers' cars, the American Automobile Manufacturers Association mailed reporters bars of green soap-on-a-rope shaped like a car.
``While you use the enclosed soap, remember: You can feel just as squeaky clean in your car as you can in the shower,'' read an enclosed card.
No retread needed
We're sure it was meant as the highest of compliments.
It was in a Cleveland Plain Dealer story about Stanley C. Gault being elected to the board of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer. Cleveland-based tire industry analyst Saul H. Ludwig, with McDonald & Co. Securities Inc., praised Mr. Gault, saying the retiring Goodyear chairman ``knew Sam Walton, the late founder of (Wal-Mart), very well'' and used his marketing skills when Mr. Gault was chairman of Rubbermaid Inc.
Predicting that Mr. Gault will be ``very valuable'' to Wal-Mart, Mr. Ludwig then added: ``There is still a lot of tread left on Stan Gault's brain.''
There is no known medical cure for that condition.
Long, long mileage
So what do tire guys do on vacation? Look at tires, naturally.
(What, you ask, is a ``vacation''? Point well taken.)
But in any event, our intrepid executive editor, Chuck Slaybaugh-recently at Disney World in Florida checking out tires on rollercoasters or something-took the opportunity to tour the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.
There he spotted the tires (pictured below) used on the fourth mission of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1982. The tires-44.5x16.0-21, 28-ply rated B.F. Goodrich tubeless-probably underwent only one landing (the manufacturer recommends a maximum of six). However, they travelled a whopping 2.6-million miles before touching down at Edwards Airforce Base in California. Talk about your high-mileage tires!
While at the space place, we hear Chuck signed up to fly on a shuttle as the first tire trade journalist in outer space.
``Hello, Houston, we have a. . . blowout?''
Really BIG dealers wanted
The Specialty Equipment Market Association's (SEMA) ``Fast Facts'' newsletter noted that Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. ``is holding its annual giant tire dealer meeting'' at Caesar's Palace during the blockbuster Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week trade shows in Las Vegas this fall.
What the item didn't mention was the height requirement, so dealers may want to give SEMA-or John Gamauf, BFS vice president of consumer tire sales-a call to find out just how gigantic they really need to be.